I Have a Confession to Make

img_1261081190693_771Okay, I’ll admit it—I have difficulty with forgiveness. In a spiritual gift test I just completed, one of the questions was, “Do you look at the world in black and white, right and wrong, good and evil?” This was one of 100 questions, and the only one to which I gave an unequivocal, “Yes.” I think this may be the basis for my issue with forgiveness. And before anyone out there jumps in with, “But how fair was it that Jesus died on the cross for your sins?” please know that I’m well-aware of how un-Christian-like my confession is, but let’s be honest—am I the only one who battles this issue?

So, what does one do with such a problem? I took it to God in prayer. It’s not like He doesn’t know what a failure I am in this area—He’s the One who brought it to my heart. And I truly struggle with this for all the reasons laid out in the Bible. Matthew 6:14 says For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. And 7:2—For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke had something to say about it, too, in 6:37—Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 

I cringe whenever I read the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18. I see myself shackled and thrown into a prison of my own making when in 18:35 Jesus says This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. But knowing what I must do and being able to actually do it? There’s been a serious disconnect between the two. It can only be accomplished through the power and strength of Jesus Christ. But how? That was my plea while in prayer last week.

Unbeknownst to me, God already had a plan. But really, when doesn’t He? This plan started about two months ago when a friend asked if I’d go with her to a women’s Christian conference. I enthusiastically agreed, yet as the time for the weekend approached, my enthusiasm waned. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hang out with my friend. But as is for most of us, my calendar filled up and I’d been too busy. I truly just wanted to hunker down at home and enjoy the rainstorm that was blowing in. But a promise is a promise, so I went.

What I didn’t know was that one of the main focuses on this conference was…you guessed it…forgiveness! The pastor who led the conference gave all the reasons we should forgive those who hurt us—biblical reasons as well as physical and emotional. But, she was the first person who’s given me a heart-changing visual. And of course, there was a worksheet involved. She’s personally gone through this process for every individual she’s had to forgive—over 200 by her estimation.

At the top of the worksheet, we placed the name of the person we need to forgive. On the left side, a list of everything (and I mean everything) our offender did that hurt us. On the right side, a list of how these offenses made us feel. Anger, resentment, bitterness, rage, revenge…my list was quite thorough.

“Now,” she said. “Look at your reaction to those offenses. If, when you think of this person, those feelings are still a part of you, you’ve just become your offender. You now carry their sin inside you. You are angry, bitter, vengeful…whatever it is you listed. You’re no better than them.”

After she said a prayer over us, I felt my spirit lift. It was incredible. Will those feelings be completely gone when I think of my offender? Realistically, no. Forgiveness is still a process, but the process has truly begun. And of course, God didn’t leave it at that. He’s had a few more words on the subject, via Charles Stanley and my Bible commentary—when we refuse to forgive, we’re Satan’s tool. We bring to the world more evil. When we choose to forgive, we’re Jesus’ tool, bringing to this world more love and peace. I vowed to let Jesus be my Lord and Savior—not Satan.

Who do you want to follow—because it’s either one or the other? There is no happy medium.

2 thoughts on “I Have a Confession to Make

  1. Dear Jennie,
    It is telling that by not forgiving you become the offender. Makes me want to try harder to forgive. I defiantly don’t want more evil in the world. This is a powerful post for me. Thank you.

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